Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Her Every Fear – Peter Swanson

Psychological Thriller 4*s
Psychological Thriller

The scene is set in Her Every Fear with Karen Priddy, a woman who had been subjected to a traumatic attack by her ex-boyfriend arranging to swap her flat in London for Corbin Dell’s apartment in Boston. Karen has been beset by anxiety ever since the attack and it is almost on a whim that she decides that the swap could be just what she needs, she can study illustration at the college there, and move away from the well-meaning but coddled existence she is living. Corbin Dell is a cousin, albeit one she’s never met before but they’ve exchanged emails in the run-up to the swap and almost before she knows it Karen is on the plane and into a fancy-pants apartment complete with a welcoming bottle of champagne.

Unfortunately for Karen, since she’s understandably of a nervous disposition a dead body has been found in a neighbouring apartment. Not ideal. but having come so far Karen is not about to turn tail, anyway a nice neighbour has introduced himself as has a former boyfriend of the deceased woman who turns up full of anguish make Karen curious and she begins to do some investigating of her own. With the police being in touch and there a few doubts about how well Corbin knew the deceased, Audrey, Karen has no qualms to prevent her snooping through Corbin’s cupboards and drawers to find out more about this secretive man.

Using four different points of view to examine the major scenes the reader is able to piece together much about each of the characters including how they appear to the others, and of course determine where exactly the truth lies. This is a clever method however it runs the risk that by the time the reader is onto the last person, the story is becoming a little repetitive in places, and as often as not, there are few surprises left. This device however does mean that this is a psychological thriller in what I like to think is the original meaning, this is about the psyche of a number of characters, guilty and innocent, rather than a reaction to a single event.

Peter Swanson is not one to shy away from complexity in his novels so not only do we have the multiple viewpoints we also have two major time periods with one section of the story stretching back to when Corbin was a student in London and of course he also throws in a mix of locations to ensure that he has all the major scene shifting arrangements fully in place. Being an exceptionally confident writer none of this complexity results in a muddled reading experience, all is crystal clear and clearly signposted and I suspect the repetition of parts of the tale actually help in keeping all the events in a clear time-line with the location and key characters fixed in the reader’s mind.

With the identity of the murderer pretty much confirmed before the half-way point you’d imagine that this book would lack some of the tension – not so, this is a seriously creepy book, more because of the characters and what the reader knows they are capable of which in turn actually ramps up the tension, sometimes to unbearable heights, as the drama unfolds.

This is principally a book about how psychopath’s operate, the real ones that live amongst us disguised as your neighbour, colleague or local MP and it is executed incredibly well. I’m not easily spooked but more than one of the people who walk among the pages of Her Every Fear had me feeling decidedly uneasy.

I’d like to thank the publishers Faber and Faber who granted my wish on NetGalley to read Her Every Fear which will be published on 12 January 2017.

First Published UK: 12 January 2017
Publisher: Faber & Faber
No of Pages: 352
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Previous Books by Peter Swanson

The Girl with a Clock for a Heart
The Kind Worth Killing


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

24 thoughts on “Her Every Fear – Peter Swanson

  1. This one certainly does sound creepy, Cleo. And that dual location adds some interesting complexity, too. I’m glad this one kept you drawn in, even if it did get a bit repetitive here and there.


  2. I read an advance copy of this one and liked it a lot. Maybe not as much as Peter Swanson’s previous book, THE KIND WORTH KILLING, but still, a very absorbing story. Swanson seems to have a great love for Alfred Hitchcock and uses some of his more well known movies and themes in his books. This one harks to Rear Window and Wait Until Dark the way that Strangers On A Train seems to be inspiration for THE KIND WORTH KILLING. This book was definitely spine-chilling for me. 🙂


  3. I think a dead body in the next apartment might make my nerves of steel quiver a little too! Most of the psychopaths I’ve known have been disguised as my bosses… and not very well disguised at that! 😉 Sounds intriguing – that looking at the same thing from different angles is tricky, but it sounds as if he pulled it off pretty well overall…


  4. Although I’ve decided to steer clear of psychological thrillers lately, I do plan on reading this in Feb for a buddy read. I loved The Kind Worth Killing so I’m very curious about this book. I loved that you said it’s still creepy even after finding out who the murderer is!


    1. I think there are different levels of psychological thrillers and this is one that isn’t so much about the massive twists and big reveals but actually brings the characters to life and examines their psyche – for me that was far more creepy because it felt like I knew them.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Finished this book this morning and really liked it. I enjoyed the multi narrative and time span; it could’ve been very clunky but was really well handled. Loved the characterisation too. I’ve never read a book by Peter Swanson before but I’ve marked them as to read 😊.


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